Tag: Heist

Logan Lucky

Steven Soderbergh is a sunuvabitch. And I mean that in a loving way. After finishing strong with Side Effects and Behind The Candelabra, he said he was retiring from directing, and the world was sad. Sure, he gave us some of The Knick, but it wasn’t the same.

And then I saw a trailer for Logan Lucky. Soderbergh. Was. Back. He didn’t last long in retirement, a project pulled him out, described as a sort of redneck Ocean’s Eleven.

I didn’t need to see the trailer multiple times. I didn’t have to look at the cast list with glee. They just had to tell me that SS was at the helm and I knew I would not be missing that film.

Speedway
Also, add in one of the greatest known actors to man, then you are just asking for Oscars.

In West Virginia, part of the Blue Ridge mountains, with the Shenandoah River, bunch of country roads that are basically heaven for the inhabitants, live the Logans. A family that some individuals think are cursed or unlucky. There is Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum), the one who was going to be a big football star, but got a leg injury leaving him with a limp before he could make it big. He also was fired recently as a construction worker in NC, so there is that. His brother is Clyde Logan (Adam Driver), soft spoken, ended up going to the Army after his brother’s accident, and in Iraq, he lost his hand and part of an arm. Now he is a bartender. Their extended family has some issues too, but their younger sister, Mellie Logan (Riley Keough), has been relatively unfazed and is a hairdresser.

Anyways, Jimmy has a family. Notably, a daughter, (Farrah Mackenzie) and an ex-wife (Katie Holmes), and he just wants to do right by them. But getting fired, not being rich, these are big problems. So he has had it. He wants to steal from a vault. He needs a giant payday, and from his construction, he knows how the money is moved at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. He has a big plan and everything to get the money and out without people knowing about it. Heck, he is even going to pick a small weekend where there is little security and not a big monetary loss to the company. They aren’t bad people, they are just…unlucky and in hard times.

They just need some help. And they want to enlist Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), a man from that area who is knowledgeable about getting into vaults. But he is also in jail. So they need to break him out, do a heist, and break him back into jail without knowing he was gone. Ah yes, good times.

And rednecks. Good times with rednecks.

Also starring Seth MacFarlane, Sebastian Stan, Brian Gleeson, David Denman, Jack Quaid, Jim O’Heir, Katherine Waterston, Hilary Swank, and Dwight Yoakam as the warden.

Incarcareted
No touching!

This film was very hard for me to review. Days later it still has resonated with me, one touching scene in particular. It has brought me closer to John Denver more so than any other film before it. You know how these movies work. Have a dad, have a relationship with his daughter, have touching moments, and you will have me there in the theater crying.

I love the cast. I love how into the characters everyone was, no matter how big or small. I loved how everyone played it straight. They weren’t mocking southerners, they were embracing the culture. Sure it was amusing, but it was still handled with a lot of class. They were just people trying to do something for their families and not trying to hurt anyone along the way. They were good people in somewhat extreme circumstances. And everyone was just so good at their roles. Even the people who were dicks.

Before I forget, this film also featured the BEST Game of Thrones reference ever in a film. It was something that made me cackle with glee. To be honest, the list of “films with Game of Thrones references” is probably pretty short, but no way could anything before have topped this one.

BUT YET THERE IS SOMETHING THAT IS HARD TO DESCRIBE. There are slower moments. There are things rushed. There is confusion at just how far away they live from Charlotte. I have to assume like 3-4 hours, which makes the timing of this film a bit awkward and harder to grasp. The later reveals of heist didn’t feel as extravagant as I had hoped. And the ending just sort of ending.

It isn’t the perfect film that my mind has made it out to be. I still can love it, I can accept its faults, but that makes me put an honest rating. You know, a brain rating and not just a rating in my heart.

If my heart was rating this film, it would maybe be a 5 out of 4.

3 out of 4.

Ant-Man

If you want a movie in production hell, then you want Ant-Man. Sure, Iron Man was technically in development since the 1990s, but those were with different studios before Marvel got it back in 2006. If you didn’t notice, they then pushed out the movie just two years alter.

Ant-Man, however, was also in development since 2006 and took just nine years to finally get released. That is a long time of trying to make a movie work and never giving up. Well, they technically gave up a little bit. Edgar Wright who was signed on to be the director since the beginning was fired early 2014 from the project which scared a lot of movie fans. Wright is well liked and has an awesome style. And the movie was roughly a year away! How could they do this? And with script re-writes as well!

I will admit that I too overreacted, expecting that Ant-Man would unfortunately be Marvel’s first real disaster of a movie in a long time, possibly meaning bad news for the other new franchises coming down the time lines. But as a not so secretive fanboy, I was also of course hoping for the best.

Yes
Thumbs up, seven new franchises up!

The movie starts in Taylor Swift’s favorite year, 1989, where some dude named Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) is upset over S.H.I.E.L.D. turning his science into weapons! He made a Pym Particle, but he refuses to let them have it for warfare, so he quits and starts his own company. It should be noted we get to see Agent Carter (Hayley Atwell), an older Howard Stark (John Slattery), and a random tool, Mitchell Carson (Martin Donovan).

Now, in the present day, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is just getting out of prison. He stole from his corrupt company who took millions from customers and gave it all back. He has a masters in Electrical Engineering, but he is also a pretty great thief it turns out. He has tried getting a regular job, but his crime history makes it hard. No job means no money, which means he can’t pay child support to his ex (Judy Greer), and thus he can’t really see his daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson). To make things worse, the ex is now dating a cop (Bobby Cannavale) which is all sorts of awkward.

So Scott gets with his friend, Luis (Michael Peña), who has a heist for them. With a few friends (David Dastmalchian, T.I.), they are going to rob Pym’s house who has the biggest safe ever. Unfortunately, the only thing in it is an awkward suit.

Turns out it was all a test. (I swear I am not spoiling the whole film). Pym’s company is no longer in his hands, and his protege Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) is about to discover the shrinking secret. Once he gets the formula right, he is going to sell the Yellow Jacket suits to the highest bidder, making an unstoppable army at whomever’s disposal. Their only person on the inside is Pym’s daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly).

So it is simple. Break into an extremely secure facility, destroy the science and the suits, save the day. A nice heist. Perfect for someone who can shrink and control ants, right? Also Wood Harris! Fuck, I couldn’t fit him in naturally!

PENA
Super powers are overrated, you da real MVP!

Again, it looks like I told too much, but I think I told the basic motivations of our main characters and also threw in most of the side players as well. You got to see the two good guys, where they are coming from, and of course the bad guy.

And I fucking loved it.

Ant-Man had everything I wanted in a Marvel super hero film. It wasn’t ever super drama serious, but it had its touching moments. It was funny, and then it was also hilarious. Many characters brought the charm in. And the action was exciting. The CGI ants I thought would be cheesy, but they worked really well in the context of the rest of the film. Going back and forth between small and large to fight everyone was very slick. There was a wonderful montage and we even got a pretty significant Avenger cameo.

I really need to acknowledge Michael Peña, who was the best part of this movie and for all I know, not based on any comic book character. He was hilarious and I hope he gets to be in future Marvel films.

There was a weak part though. The relationship between Pym and Hope was supposed to be strained, but the actors didn’t act it well and it instead kind of just sucked. I am more incline to place the blame onto Lilly, but it could be that she was just given a weaker character with terrible lines and development.

Ant-Man has it all. It even has a villain who seems realistic and isn’t just a dark brooding figure. He has his own real motivations and a backstory and his arc makes a little bit of sense. Their fight scenes were wonderful. And on paper he may seem like a minor bad guy, but I think he is the best villain since Bucky and Loki.

Bring me more Ant-Man.

4 out of 4.